Test Drive: Ford Mustang Mach 1: One last moment of fun before parting out

Yes, most definitely yes! We never hesitate when it comes to enjoying a week behind the wheel of a car of the kind  we love. A big 5.0 V8 under the bonnet and rear wheel drive only mean unadultered endless fun. That’s what the Ford Mustang Mach 1, available in Belgium since last Fall, is all about.

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On the menu is an engine boosted to 460 hp thanks to a huge air filter that whirs quietly in the lower gears. On the outside, this Mach 1 unique decoration and stripes are immediately noticeable, as well as the front blade that runs up the sides of the bumper. The wheels come straight away from the Bullitt limited edition model which is as rare as hen’s teeth on this side of the Atlantic. The Mach 1 is more focused on trackday performance and Ford allows you to select either a 10-speed automatic or a 6-speed Tremec manual box. The suspension was stiffened, while piloted damping and power steering should provide the car with better and more precise responses.

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I like it

This Mustang just put a large grin on your face! Drive the Mach 1 anywhere and it’s unbelievable how many people smile and are genuinely enthusiastic about this American car. Even the younger ones were seduced by its V8 music before being impressed by its thrust beyond 5,000 rpm. As always, we shared our passion during this test drive, taking along some enthusiasts as passengers. We really enjoyed the impressive comfort of the excellent Recaro seats, this time in a 100% American atmosphere. What about that big white ball sitting above the gearstick and just begging to be handled?

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Quite clever

Driving the Mustang is real fun! Revving it past 5,000 rpm is simply addictive, that’s the fun good old big-block lumps deliver in droves and you just don’t think about the unreasonable fuel consumption. Then, when you find some space to enjoy the car on private land, you just disable all the electronic “safety belts” and have fun drifting it, doing donuts and other grinning-inducing slides. The “Track” setting of its riding mode is the most extreme, but unfortunately we weren’t able to use it during our test as it was done using public roads only. It is even possible to create a 100% personalised menu by increasing or decreasing the steering and suspension sensitivity settings without forgetting the little “ESP Off” button on the dashboard. What a joy this car is!

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I don’t like it

The car does have some serious flaws. Forget about flicking the gearbox quickly and precisely, especially getting down a gear or two before diving into a bend. It’s quite confusing but you end up anticipating the time needed to downshift. Eventually, you nearly think positively about the seamless gear changes of the autobox… which is a shame for a car that claims to be 100% track-oriented!

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Why I buy it

Getting back behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang is like going back to a “real” good old car, one of the last century… and one that urged you to do this job. There’s feeling in abundance here and absolutely nothing like what you experience behind the wheel of an electric car that is as exciting to drive as a tramway. The Mach 1 is a real step back in time : mastering driving techniques and using them with finesse is the name of the game as this RWD car just begs to go sideways. It’s sheer fun to hear that engine sing, to smoke rubber smoke and to burn this precious petrol that is now almost as expensive as gold…

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Why I don’t buy it

The Mach 1 is priced from € 61,150, which is 12,500€ more than the more accessible Mustang GT. Compared to some German sport cars,  the Mach1 is a highly competitive proposal, taking into account its power, performance as well as the pleasure it gives you once behind the wheel. However, you’ll have to make do with some “American” fit and finish (read “poor”)- not really a problem when you see what Tesla charges for something even worse…-, smallish rear seats and punitive taxes combined to a gargantuan fuel consumption. However, the daily dose of fun provided by this american coupé is boundless and driving it simply makes life more beautiful! (Translation: Dimitri Urbain – Pictures: Pierre Fontignies)

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